World Rugby boss just issued a stark warning about the sport returning and it isn’t promising – Wales Online

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont has warned it will be difficult for the game as we know it to return until a vaccine for coronavirus is in place.

There are tentative plans for the Welsh regions to resume playing in August, with the Guinness PRO14 pencilled in to begin again towards the end of that month.

But Beaumont says the sport in its full contact form can only return with absolute confidence once we get testing and vaccines.

With this in mind, World Rugby has come up with a set of suggested law variations that would see less physical contact.

But it will be up to individual countries to decide whether to take up the proposals, as they navigate a route out of lockdown.

Wales have declined to adopt the law trials, while England and New Zealand have given them a cool reception.

Beaumont, who was reappointed World Rugby chairman for another four years earlier this month following a contest with Agustin Pichot, was speaking on BBC Breakfast.

“If we knew when sanctions were going to be lifted and people can start contact, then it would be a lot easier to plan,” said the former England and Lions skipper.

“But what we have done is come up with a set of law variations that countries would be able to implement if they wanted to try them.

“It’s less scrums, less lineouts and basically less physical contact, but that is up to each individual country whether they want to try that.

“In New Zealand, where is no more coronavirus in the country, they are resuming full physical contact rugby in a couple of weeks.

“But it’s only when we get testing, vaccines etc that I think we can be absolutely confident.

“Because of the physical aspect of the game of rugby, it makes it very, very difficult.

“We are told we have to keep two metres apart. Well, you just can’t do that on a rugby field.”

Beaumont was joined on the programme by English World Cup winner Matt Dawson, who predicted that rugby would be at the back of the sporting queue for a return.

“Unfortunately, I just can’t see international or first class rugby getting back for a while,” he said.

“The game is fundamentally different if you change and try to play by the suggested laws that World Rugby have come to because they want people to enjoy the game and carry on playing rugby in their own environments.

Former England international Matt Dawson

“To be competitive in that area, the rules need to be pretty much the same and that involves a huge amount of contact, not only in the game, but training as well.

“There will be a lot of players around the world who won’t be comfortable in those types of environments, training and playing, because it could potentially affect them and their families and people around them.

“So it is going to be a tricky one. Unfortunately, just by the nature of rugby, we are probably going to be right at the back end of time that supporters have to wait until they see it.

“It’s just the reality of the position we are in.”

Beaumont and Dawson were on BBC Breakfast talking about a special Question of Sport podcast.

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